Plan or spontaneous?

#wpad blog challenge, day 5 – anybody bored with my ramblings yet ;°)?

How do I write best, planned or spontaneous? *Scuttles off to put on her lawyer’s hat:* Well, that depends.

In screenwriting, I have to plan in great detail. Loglines, plot lines, character sketches, often filling in the stages of the Hero’s Journey, always a summary (or fifteen), sometimes a treatment, until my floor is covered in index cards to trace the story by acts, sequences and scenes. It’s weeks or more before I start writing the first word for the first draft.

Currently I am working on a novel, and that is a mix of spontaneous and planning. It started with a chapter that I wrote as a memory of something I experienced, without plan or plot for a book. From that grew a very vague story, and I wrote whichever part happened to come to mind. This puzzle-piece approach was probably due to the fact that I didn’t really know what my story was about… Now I do, and now that I have picked it up again I am planning in just as much detail as if it were a screenplay. I’m using the snowflake method, so I am actually writing a lot, but I am not writing the novel, I am planning it.

My short stories usually start with an idea, followed by a varying number of walks in the forest to mull it over until I have a general idea of where it’s going, and then I sit down and write. This turns out to be the least efficient way of writing, but I can’t seem to do it differently in this format.

However, although planned writing is the way to achieve results I am more or less happy with – sometimes – the spontaneous stuff seems to be closest to my heart.

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